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Honkers hammer Spartans, earn rematch with Pierce
With the playoffs in full swing, the Willows High football team wasted no time deciding that they would emerge the victor against East Nicolaus on Friday night, crushing the visiting Spartans 41-14.
It took only minutes for the Honkers - the No. 4 seed - to begin cleaning house against the fifth-seeded Spartans, when quarterback Ulises Esparza connected with Chris Walter for a 45-yard touchdown pass, giving Willows the early 7-0 lead.
Esparza concluded the night with 112 yards passing.
A few moments later, Geoffrey Bateman battered down all defenders in his wake en route to a 9-yard rushing touchdown with five minutes left in the first quarter. Bateman tallied 35 yards rushing on the night.
As the second quarter began, the Honkers wasted no time scoring against East Nicolaus again, this time an 8-yard touchdown run from Walter, putting the Honkers up 21-0.
Walter totaled 100 yards receiving on the night, while adding 37 yards on the ground.
An interception later in the second quarter by Daniel Macias gave the ball back to the Honkers, who took full advantage of their possession and scored again when Noah Enns ran in a 16-yard touchdown.
Enns lead the Honkers with 108 rushing yards during the matchup, and the home team went into the half with a dominant 27-0 lead over the Spartans.
Kyle Wycoff was the first to put points on the board in the beginning of the second half, when he pummeled through the Spartans for the 3-yard touchdown, helping put his team up 34-0 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Wycoff ended his evening with 57 rushing yards.
Sporting a 34-0 lead in the fourth the Honkers still came out to play, as did the Spartans who still had plenty of fight left.
Andrew Sills scored a 3-yard touchdown for East Nic with a little over eight minutes left in the final quarter. Willows managed to block the PAT and kept the score at 34-6.
As the time wound down, both the Honkers took it to the end zone with one minute left on the clock, when Jon Permann scored a 1-yard touchdown run, crushing and thrashing his way up the middle in order to score, and adding to Willows' lead at 41-6.
Just when everyone thought the game had all but ended, the Spartans scored again when Sills scored a 12-yard touchdown with a mere three seconds left in the game.
A successful two-point conversion from the Spartans as time ran out ended the game with a 41-14 score in favor the Honkers, but both teams were able to hold their heads high after putting in a playoff worthy effort.
After the win, Willows head coach Jim Ward expressed his thoughts on his team's next contest against Pierce, as well as commending East Nicolaus' effort, saying, “You never take anyone for granted, we created some breaks tonight and played well. We have the utmost respect for Pierce, and it's going to take an almost perfect game for us to beat them. We know what they bring - it's gonna be a dog fight.”
Willows will hit the road Friday when they travel to Arbuckle to face off against local rivals and top-seeded Pierce in the next leg of playoff action.
CONTACT Emily Saint-Evens at 824-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org